Air India top pilot failed pre-flight alcohol test, grounded: Official

Capt Kathpalia was to operate the Air India's AI-111 flight to London from New Delhi on Sunday afternoon.

Mumbai: National carrier Air India grounded its director (operations) Captain A K Kathpalia on Sunday after he allegedly failed in a pre-flight alcohol test, a senior airline official said.

Capt Kathpalia was to operate the Air India’s AI-111 flight to London from New Delhi on Sunday afternoon. He was earlier also grounded for a similar offence.

“We have grounded Captain A K Kathpalia as he failed twice in the breath analyser test. He was to operate the London flight from New Delhi, but he failed to clear the pre-flight alcohol test,” the official said.

“He was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive following which he was grounded,” the official said.

Air India spokesperson was not available for comments on the matter.

Rule 24 of the Aircraft Rules prohibits crew members from partaking any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight, and it is mandatory for him or her to undergo an alcohol test both before and after operating a flight.

Earlier, Kathpalia’s flying licence was suspended in 2017 for three months by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for allegedly skipping the breath analyser test before a flight. He was subsequently removed from the post of executive director, operations.

However, he was later appointed to the post of director (operations) in Air India Ltd for a period of five years.

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